Lacrossewear’s Joe Idone recently had the pleasure to sit down and talk with Mustachio Master Ken Clausen about everything from his Mustache Madness campaign that launched this month, his lacrosse career both collegiately and professionally, and even his favorite ice cream! Both Ken’s illustrious career at The University of Virginia and his signature “flow” have allowed Ken to be one of the most recognizable players in the game.
After finishing college as the first ever 4x All-American at UVA, Ken was drafted fifth overall in the 2010 MLL draft by the Denver Outlaws and the 22nd pick in the NLL draft by the Colorado Mammoth. Even more impressive than his countless individual accolades is Ken’s willingness to utilize his “lacrosse celebrity” to spread a positive message and raise thousands of dollars for the Headstrong Foundation; all while sporting an incredible stache! Here’s what he had to say:
LW: First off, tell me about Mustache Madness? When and Where did you come up with the idea?
KC: It all started in Mexico. I met a guy on vacation who had the “finger stache” tattoo. I thought it was incredible and hilarious so I asked him if I should get one just like it and he said, “get it and spread it my man!” I got the “finger stache” in Colorado before my freshman year at UVA. Later, on a separate vacation to Fiji I saw a group of Australian guys all sporting awesome mustaches. Once again, I approached them and they told me that they were growing them out for charity, and people sponsor their growth. I thought it was an awesome idea and the gears began turning in my head. The lacrosse community is so unique because we are all so tight and we all know each other, so I knew if I made it fun and exciting it would catch on FAST….and it did. I pushed the ideas to the seniors at UVA and teamed up with their training staff to combine and launch Mustache Madness. Since, it has far surpassed any expectations and continues to take on a life of its own!
LW: How much has the campaign raised so far?
KC: The response has been amazing! Already this month we have raised over $32,000 this month and all proceeds go directly to the HEADstrong Foundation. I literally hit “refresh” 20x a day to see where we stand and I’m blown away every time I see how rapidly it is increasing. Last year we were able to raise over $70,000. With the popularity of the game exploding and exposure from Lacrossewear, Inside Lacrosse, and HEADstrong we fully anticipate to reach our goal of $100,000 which is exciting for everyone involved.
LW: Can you talk about how you teamed up with HEADstrong?
KC: It has been a total pleasure partnering up with HEADstrong. I fully believe in their mission and I am honored that they wanted to team up. I talk with them all the time and it’s unbelievable to hear the things they do to help people on a daily basis. We actually decided to launch the campaign a bit early this year on October 19th when we realized it was both Nick Colleluori’s and my birthday! It was so awesome to learn that Nick and I shared this day, because we also both wore the same number (27) and are from PA. It was a natural fit!
LW: How did you get into Lacrosse?
KC: It all started in 6th grade. I realized that I needed to change things up when I struck out nearly every at bat playing baseball..haha. I loved football so the physical nature of lacrosse was always appealing to me, but I had never been to a game. That year I went to a Philadelphia Wings game and fell in love with lacrosse. A fight broke out in the first minute, the fans were crazy excited, the atmosphere was unreal, and the speed and physicality on display left me in awe. It only took one game and I was hooked!
LW: What is your greatest personal lacrosse moment?
KC: I have been fortunate enough to have a ton of amazing moments playing lacrosse, but that one signature moment has eluded me. So I’d have to say I’m still working on it. The individual accolades are great, but at the end of the day it’s a team game and I want to win Championships. Playing for Team USA was a great honor to be on the field with players of that caliber and represent your country at the same time. It was a great feeling but the pinnacle of playing sports is winning that Championship, and I am working extremely hard toward that goal.
LW: Where do you see lacrosse in 10 years?
KC: Wow. All I can say is that I’m glad that I play now. Living in Denver I have got to see a ton of talent from this area and the athletes playing now are tremendous. I love to see Michigan going D1, and I can see more schools following suit as the growth of the college game continues. Once some of the football coaches relinquish the reign’s on their athletes, the possibilities are endless!